Mitigating Risks with Drupal 8

Sara Olson, Marketing Analyst
#Featured | Posted

If you’ve read Jeff Walpole’s recent post or our white paper, you know we at Phase2 are excited about the possibilities of Drupal 8. Of course, as a new technology, Drupal 8 comes with new benefits and challenges, as well. Evaluating its potential for your organization requires a nuanced understanding of not only your business needs and technological ecosystem, but of Drupal 8 itself. Teaming up with a capable technology partner will help you navigate the risks of a CMS migration. In the meantime, consider these proven strategies to safeguard the success of your technology upgrade.

Be Aware of the Drupal 8 Learning Curve

Allow for ample time for your team to get over the steep learning curve for first-time Drupal 8 projects. Object-oriented programming does result in long-term developer agility, but could take some investment in skills at the onset. Drupal 8 does a number of things differently than previous versions of Drupal, as it has integrated practices and approaches from the broader PHP community. Developers, designers, site builders, and project managers must adjust their practices while they are incorporating this new platform into their repertoire. In our experience, it took a seasoned Drupal developer about two weeks of pure learning over the course of two months to get up to speed. Account for this learning delay in your timeline, trusting that development will accelerate once the initial learning period has passed.Danny

Consider the contrib space

As Drupal 8 moves towards a production release, the contributed module space tends to lag behind. Trying to coordinate a re-platforming with the release of key contributed modules could be risky, and the timetable on porting modules is difficult to predict. Identify modules that are critical for your requirements, and reach out to the contrib team for to find out their plan for upgrade. Use this information to design your own code in a way that is compatible with future planned releases and determine if there may be a way to assist in the upgrade effort.

Account for hosting flexibility

Accounting for changes in your hosting environment is an important step in launching a successful Drupal 8 initiative. The stack and hosting architecture you use today to host a Drupal 6 or 7 site may not work well for Drupal 8. Reach out to your hosting provider and find out their plans for hosting Drupal 8 platforms successfully.

Mitigate Risks by Prototyping

Ensure your developers get the hang of the new architecture of Drupal 8 by creating prototypes early and often. Don’t worry about theming in this stage; just focus on creating minimal viable products to connect key features and functionality. Using prototypes is a low-risk way to test the feasibility of concepts without investing in a full implementation. When it comes to new technology, these trial runs are crucial to gaining knowledge and mitigating risk.Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 4.19.02 PMFor a more detailed and nuanced discussion of Drupal 8 for enterprise, check out Phase2’s white paper: Drupal 8 in a Changing Digital Landscape. Or see what our developers, content strategists, and account directors have to say about their experiences working with Drupal 8.

Sara Olson

Marketing Analyst